Unqualified Jayne Muffatt lands an unexpected job as a technician, to her mother’s strong disapproval. The test unit she works on has medical applications, but she accidentally uncovers a more sinister side. She and her geeky friend Jon investigate this, which involves a car-chase, an improbable episode with a balloon, discovery of things about herself she was not taught at school and finally a desperate break-in to her place of work. Alongside all this she is desperate to avoid marriage to an obsessively pro-American evangelist, who has a secret and an agenda. The break-in results in her work-place burning down, a conviction for herself, brain damage to Jon and the lasting enmity of a tabloid newspaper. She rebuilds her life, with the help of her lawyer, his schoolteacher wife, her former boss’s partner and Jon’s uncle, and learns in the process that by and large, the difference between good and ill is not between people but within them – even her supportive lawyer is using her to some extent. But all the way to the bittersweet conclusion of the story, Jayne demonstrates a resilience and resourcefulness she never thought she had, and grows from a shy and downtrodden adolescent into a worthy, if not always perfect hero.